It doesn’t have to be difficult to choose an ESL school!
Many parents may feel overwhelmed when faced with the number of ESL schools that are out there. There are so many different types that it’s hard to know which is best for your child.
Really, only you know what is best for your child. However, I hope that these tips can help you determine what you are looking for in an ESL school.
Native English Speaker or Foreign English Speaker?
One of the first questions you may want to ask yourself is whether you want a native English speaker, or someone from your country who is fluent in English. Your first thought might be that the native English speaker is best, but I don’t think this is always the case.
Native speakers are good for very young children. It is important for young children to hear how to properly pronounce English words. However, it is good if there is an assistant in the classroom who speaks your child’s native language. An English speaker may not understand your native language and may not be able to understand your child’s needs.
As children get older and start to enter Jr. and Sr. High School, I believe that it is best for them to be taught by someone in your country who is fluent in English. Older students must often pass tests in school, or in order to be accepted into a school and someone from your country will know better what particular grammatical points your child will need to know. Additionally, grammar at these levels can be very complex and can be difficult for a native English speaker to explain if they do not speak your language.
Is the focus on speaking, reading, or writing?
Different schools may focus on different things and it’s important to decide which is best for your child when you choose an ESL school. Reading and writing become more important as students grow older.
Does the school teach only English or other things?
If the student is only going for a short time, then it’s best to stick with just English. But if the student is going for several hours, it’s great if they can learn other things such as art, math, science, etc. (in English of course!)
How much does it cost?
Cost can be a factor in some people’s decision. Make sure that you check out several schools in your area to see what different schools are charging. You want to be sure that you are getting the best deal when you choose an ESL school.
Your child’s/family’s schedule?
Make sure that the school that you pick doesn’t interfere with your current schedule. It is very difficult when a student must be absent. Their English falls far behind the students who are there every lesson.
Probably the most important thing to think about when you choose an ESL school is that other people like it. Try to get recommendations from your friends who have children. If you are looking at a specific ESL school, then ask if you could speak to the parents of some of the current students. That way you can be sure that you are making a good choice.